Have you followed the Olympics in Sochi?
We'll help you to decode Russia's Olympic slogan!
If you have been following the news about the Olympics in Sochi, you may have seen the following slogan displayed on busses, T-Shirts and buildings:
The Games' official slogan, "Hot. Cool. Yours." ("Жаркие. Зимние. Твои." in Russian) was unveiled on September 25, 2012 to mark the 500-day milestone before the Opening Ceremony. Presenting the slogan, SOC president Dmitry Chernyshenko explained that it represented the "passion" of the Games' athletes, the climate of Sochi itself and a sense of inclusion and belonging.
However, visitors and athletes alike are puzzled at the meaning behind the slogan. We've done some research on the slogan and found out that Russian organizers “intended the slogan to reflect the national character of Russia and the values of the Sochi 2014 brand, as well as Sochi 2014’s progressive and innovative approach to the organization and staging of the Games.” Folks in attendance and Russians alike feel that this slogan was simply lost in translation. Already when the slogan was revealed in September of 2012 it drew chuckles, as folks likened it to a Katy Perry song.
So, what about the period between the words? It was stated that “The dot after each word draws a parallel with high technologies (.ru) and the emblem of the Winter Games in Sochi." (The logo features a “.ru” addendum to the word “Sochi.”)
But let's look at the words themselves to get an in-depth look:
"HOT": Here translators opted for simplicity, but may have lost some of the context. The Russian adjective zharkie is often used to mean “warm” or “balmy” and can also be translated as “heated” – as in “heated competition.” This was likely what organizers were trying to capture, when they explained: “The word ‘Hot.’ reflects the intensity of sporting battle and the passion of the spectators.” We also found out that the translators’ other goal was to emphasize “the location of the Games, the southern resort city of Sochi”. However, this turned out to be rather problematic, as critics had warned in advance that Sochi might not be wintry enough and may quite likely run into weather and snow problems.
"COOL": The Russian word “wintry” (zimniye) being used here brings to mind images of snow, ice and white mountain tops, rather than it referring to the weather being merely “cool". Dmitry Chernyshenko stated that “Cool” stood not only for the Games’ time of the year," but also “for how Russia is perceived by the rest of the world.”
"YOURS": The last word "Yours." symbolizes personal involvement and shows that while the Games is a large-scale national project, everybody can share in the victories at the Games and the sense of pride. This word was chosen to relay that everyone is invited, whereby Mr. Chernyshenko explained, “The Sochi 2014 slogan demonstrates that it is impossible not to participate, watch, experience and be proud because these are Your Games."
However, there has also been a fair amount of political opposition, as one Russian commentator hinted at last year: “The [Games] are yours because they’re yours, end of story. Whether you want to or not, you’re subscribed and don’t try to bail out.”
When looking at the reaction of the media and spectators, comments run from enthusiasm about the slogan to outright sarcasm. What are your thoughts?
- To view the CBC News video "What did you say? Sochi lost in translation", click here.
- To check out other funny mistranslated signs, visit this website and click on the image to view the slideshow.
- Did you know that banners in foreign languages were at first not allowed in Russia? Read more in this ABC News article.
- To obtain a quote for your Russian translation needs, simply send us your document in an email. We'll take care of the rest!
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